Norman Regional HealthPlex expansion plans approved by City Council

Jeff Elkins, The Norman Transcript, Okla.
·3 min read

Feb. 28—Norman Regional Health Systems will soon kick off a series of five expansion and renovation projects on three different sites in an effort to expand its outreach and better serve patients.

Norman City Council voted unanimously to approve Norman Regional's plan to expand its HealthPlex hospital at last Tuesday's meeting. The first of a series of projects in the Inspire Health plan is slated to begin in May, according to Norman Regional Health System president and CEO Richie Splitt.

The plan will begin in May with the construction of Norman Regional Nine, a freestanding Emergency Department in southeast Norman at 24th Avenue SE and Highway 9. Splitt said the project is more than an emergency department staffed by physicians.

"It is an emergency department with labs, imaging, primary care, specialty care, physical medicine and other spaces available as well," Splitt said.

Groundbreaking on a Healthplex expansion is set to start July 15. This expansion will build out the hospital with a new patient bed tower, emergency room, cancer center and ambulatory care for outpatient services.

"The Ambulatory Care Center really emphasizes outpatient services," Splitt said. "It's a vital piece to our overall plan because that is really where healthcare is moving today. It's all about providing convenient access to care, and doing so in ways that don't require hospitalization."

Split said an important focus of Norman Regional has always been cancer care. He said the addition of a cancer center allows the hospital to have community cancer care in a central location where there are convenient adjacencies for oncology, breast surgery, infusion services, radiation and all aspects of cancer care.

In June, Norman Regional will celebrate 75 years of care, a history that started with the original building on Porter Avenue. Split said it was important for NRHS to repurpose that property into a Porter Health Village, which will include a freestanding Behavioral Health Center.

"The Health Village will allow us to continue to provide clinical care, and will transform into a completely outpatient-based facility minus behavioral health, where we are adding 48 adult inpatient beds," Splitt said.

Splitt said the revitalization of the original building will add 28 beds to NRHS' community for adult behavioral health services.

"It's a gathering place for health and wellness, where you can find primary care, specialty care and an imaging lab," Split said.

Variety Care, a federally-qualified health clinic, and a Senior Wellness Center, which was part of Norman Forward projects from the City of Norman, will also be located on that campus.

"This newly-designed campus promotes health and wellness versus the sick care that we're accustomed to in a hospital setting," Splitt said.

Splitt said the projects present an opportunity to transform NRHS' health system as it commits to further improving care for Cleveland County residents.

"We knew going into this transformation that it was the right plan, because we are doing this to be more convenient, more efficient, drive down costs and continue to pursue high standards for care for our patients," Splitt said.

Splitt said construction on the Healthplex in northwest Norman, the new facility in southeast Norman and Porter campus renovations all highlight the revitalization of the city and the economy.

"It also underscores our commitment to health and wellness for all of those that we serve," Split said.

Jeff Elkins covers business, living and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at Jelkins@normantranscript.com or at @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.